The family of a mentally ill man who died after he was shocked twice with a Taser fired by a Fort Worth police officer filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the police officer.
In the lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth by the parents of Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr., the family is suing for damages in excess of $75,000 from the city and Cpl. Stephanie A. Phillips, the officer who deployed the Taser. Jacobs, 24, died in police custody April 18.
Last week Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani ruled Jacobs’ death a homicide, saying that his death was caused after being shocked by the Taser for 54 seconds, “overstimulating his nervous system.” A Taser issues 50,000 volts with each shock that can temporarily immobilize a person.
The lawsuit claims that Phillips used excessive force and that Jacobs’ death was caused by “the gross neglect of the city of Fort Worth in failing to properly train and supervise its police officers in the proper use of Tasers.”
On Thursday, Peerwani released his investigator’s report, which stated that Phillips told a detective after the incident that she “unknowingly kept the Taser trigger engaged for an unknown amount of time when she first applied the Taser, thus increasing the pre-programmed shock duration cycle of five seconds.”
The first Taser shock lasted 49 seconds and, after a one-second interval, the second shock lasted five seconds.
When Phillips warned Jacobs that she would shock him again if he did not “cease fighting,” she shocked him an additional time for five seconds, according to the report.
According to the report, Jacobs experienced “sudden death during neuromuscular incapacitation due to application of a conducted energy device.”
There were no signs of drugs in his system, and no indication of chemical imbalances or heart or lung disease, according to the medical examiner’s report.
The Fort Worth City Council was scheduled to get a briefing on the Jacobs case Tuesday. Deputy City Attorney Gerald Pruitt said the city hasn’t been served with the suit, “although we’re aware of it.”
The city has hired an attorney to represent Phillips, which is customary in wrongful-death cases.
State law caps the liability of cities and other governmental agencies at $250,000 per individual claim or $500,000 per incident.
Jacobs is the fourth person to be killed by the use of a Taser by the Fort Worth police. His death is the only one ruled a homicide.
If you or a family member has been injured because of the fault of someone else; by negligence, personal injury, slip and fall, car accident, medical malpractice, trucking accident, drunk driving, dangerous drugs, bad product, toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.